NATIONAL GUARD UPDATE….The National Guard story has suddenly burst back on the scene. Here’s the latest:
Nick Kristof devoted his entire column today to Bush’s missing months in Alabama during 1972. Bush has always maintained that he trained with the 187th Air National Guard Tactical squadron at Dannelly Air National Guard base while he was in Alabama, but the 187th was a small unit and Kristof quotes Bob Mintz, a fighter pilot in the 187th during 1972, who says that Bush was never there. (Note: Although Kristof doesn’t mention it, Mintz’s story was first reported last February by Jackson Baker of the Memphis Flyer.)
Kristof also links to a lengthy analysis of Bush’s National Guard service by retired Col. Gerald Lechliter. Lechliter charges that Bush received credit (and pay) for drills that he shouldn’t have.
The Boston Globe, based partly on Lechliter’s document, reports this morning that Bush failed to meet his training requirements twice during his duty with the National Guard: first in 1972 when he was in Alabama, and second in 1974 when he was attending Harvard Business School. In 1999, Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett said that Bush trained with a Boston unit while he was at Harvard, but the Globe quotes Bartlett as admitting now that “I must have misspoke.”
A new story from the Associated Press reports that the Defense Department, after receiving a FOIA request from AP, has mysteriously located some additional Bush records. For the most part the records don’t have anything new, but one of them casts some additional light on the training Bush missed with his regular unit in Houston: “Significantly, it showed the unit joined a ’24-hour active alert mission to safeguard against surprise attack’ in the southern United State beginning on Oct. 6, 1972, a time when Bush did not report for duty, according to his pay records.”
And of course 60 Minutes II will have its interview with Ben Barnes tonight. Barnes will be telling the story of how he pulled strings to get Bush into the National Guard back in 1968.
What goes around comes around. As I mentioned before, I doubt that this debate is good for the country, but apparently a lot of people figure that if the Swift Boat group can make up smear stories about John Kerry’s military service with impunity, then it’s fair to retaliate with true stories about Bush’s. I can’t say that I blame them.